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Posted: 09 May 2008 10:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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Salt Creek - 09 May 2008 01:31 AM

One of the highest callings we have as hominids is to try to mitigate suffering where we find it.

WHAT!!!??? For a nihilist, that statement is tantamount to denying the faith. You have no “calling” whatsoever.

[quote author=“Salt Creek”](quoting “Mr. Doom”)

If nothing has any purpose, then why get all worked up about it?

Not caring about the meaninglessness and purposelessness of the universe, THAT is nihilism. This depressive goth shit is just ego-mongering and gives nihilists and nihilism a bad image.

You give nihilism a bad name by caring about anything at all. Why does anything even register on your emotional scale (or any other scales that you may have)? The very fact that you had some urge to mitigate H’s perceived suffering indicates that the imago dei is still hanging on to life even in the darkness of your soul, clutching to some dried-up tendril of your black heart. Some Python actor down there is still crying out “I’m not dead yet” even as he rolls around in the shit you claim not to give about anything.  You DO give a shit, and that undermines your entire argument, you ole’ softy, you.

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Posted: 09 May 2008 10:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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Bruce Burleson - 09 May 2008 02:22 PM
Salt Creek - 09 May 2008 01:31 AM

One of the highest callings we have as hominids is to try to mitigate suffering where we find it.

WHAT!!!??? For a nihilist, that statement is tantamount to denying the faith. You have no “calling” whatsoever.

Damn. I made my sarcasm too subtle for you, Bruce. You are literalist/metaphorical to the death, playing both ends against the middle, and then trying to distract attention from that by accusing others of the same.

But even if I admit to embracing suffering, like some Buddhist monk, that’s still too much emotional commitment, isn’t it? I like to watch, and I will do so until my eyes close for the last time. What you are reading are my observations.

When faced with your brand of emotionalism and duplicity, Bruce, I just don’t know whether to shit or go blind.

[ Edited: 09 May 2008 11:12 AM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 09 May 2008 12:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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[quote author=“Salt Creek”]When faced with your brand of emotionalism and duplicity, Bruce, I just don’t know whether to shit or go blind.

At most nursing homes, you do both.  Makes one drool with anticipation, doesn’t it?

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Posted: 09 May 2008 06:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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Bruce Burleson - 09 May 2008 02:22 PM

You give nihilism a bad name by caring about anything at all. Why does anything even register on your emotional scale (or any other scales that you may have)? . . .

Funny you should mention nihilism, Bruce. I remember feeling a bit nihilistic back when I was about 15, as any competent teenager tends to do. But soon after I turned 17 I was born again in Christ, which opened up a much broader nihilistic world for me. No, I’m not going to claim that Christianity at its core represents or adheres to nihilistic ways, but it certainly did for me because those ways were the ones that suited my personality. As many here have already noted, any collection of supposedly holy writings, if it’s diverse enough, can offer unlimited interpretive opportunities, and quite a few of the quotes attributed to Jesus seem to me highly nihilistic. Jesus (or at least the literary figure, Jesus) saw fit to throw numerous fits against tried and true ways of practicing his faith. At times, he also seems excessively focused on denying the legitimacy of typically structured life, as in Chapter 9 of Luke:

“And he said unto all, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever would save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man profited, if he gain the whole world, and lose or forfeit his own self?”

Normal family life, in certain of Jesus’ words, is simply unacceptable, which has to my ear a certain nihilistic sound to it. Add to this his frequent bashing of Judaism’s hierarchical structures and truths, and you have a fairly stark brand of early nihilism.

Of course, any Christian is free to read and memorize other verses that portray different ways of seeing things. In my opinion, nihilism is not simply a denial of life value, but a denial of bullshit underpinnings of values. It doesn’t deny valid emotional reaction but does indeed mock the strained and trivial attempts. That is, I don’t tend to get teary-eyed over nationalism or patriotism or any particular holiday or tradition. But when I am touched, perhaps by certain musical performances or personal interactions, tears have been known to appear, much as I try to hide them from others.

Okay, maybe I’m just touched, period. But my nihilistic tendencies have never interfered with my emotion or aesthetic appreciation. They’ve only enhanced them.

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Posted: 10 May 2008 12:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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[quote author=“homunculus”]Normal family life, in certain of Jesus’ words, is simply unacceptable, which has to my ear a certain nihilistic sound to it. Add to this his frequent bashing of Judaism’s hierarchical structures and truths, and you have a fairly stark brand of early nihilism.

Well, that’s a slightly different brand of nihilism than the one associated with Salt Creek’s position. BS does need to be eliminated, and if nihilism accomplishes that, it is indeed a useful tool. But if it is seen as more than a tool, and if it is taken as an accurate expression of reality, then it is depressing. That is no reason to reject it, but I do reject it because I am a believer. I interpret Jesus’ teachings as more of an attempt to reorient humankind toward its center, which is Him. If He was not the Son of God, he was the biggest narcissist who ever existed. But if He was ....

So you see nihilism as a stripping away of all that is false, or all that is unfounded?  I’ve just always thought of it as the idea that there is no purpose or meaning to life, and that there is no creator, or if there is, he has nothing to do with us.

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Posted: 10 May 2008 06:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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Bruce Burleson - 10 May 2008 04:28 AM

. . .
So you see nihilism as a stripping away of all that is false, or all that is unfounded?  I’ve just always thought of it as the idea that there is no purpose or meaning to life, and that there is no creator, or if there is, he has nothing to do with us.

From what I can gather, Bruce, nihilism involves all or at least most of the following:
rejection of the idea of deity;
rejection of morality;
rejection of life meaning beyond what might be found in the immediate reality of any given context;
rejection of the notion that human life, at least in its present condition, is worth continuing.

The above sounds pretty grim, I’ll admit. But nihilism does not seem to include a rejection of the need for laws, regulations and systems of justice and oversight, nor a rejection of the importance of ethical consideration.

If I consciously reject the opportunity to contribute toward new children being born, such a decision is, according to common definitions, at least somewhat nihilistic. But keep in mind that the most that abstract words can do is to vaguely hint at their attendant concepts. Clarification can be all but impossible without the availability of body language and knowledge of a person’s history. Just because I refuse to bring more children into the world does not mean that I hate humanity, am clinically depressed (which I very often was, back when I was a practicing Christian), harbor deep-seated, destructive motivations, or that I wish for anything other than the best for humanity’s future.

It may be that I’m only an mild nihilist, but I don’t see it that way. It’s difficult to explain, however, due to how slippery the necessary words are. Maybe if you and I were sitting on the back deck again, with glasses of Merlot in hand, I’d have a better shot at an attempt. If we’re unable to see each other’s eyes, however, I will have lost any confidence at communicating about such subtle life meanings.

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

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Posted: 10 May 2008 07:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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I come to my nihilism only after seeing what happens when other people defend their philosophies. I don’t think I was a nihilist before accumulating a certain amount of experience posting in internet forums.

I consider myself a hit-or-misanthrope.

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Posted: 10 May 2008 07:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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Gosh, Dave. You’ve invented benignhilism.

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Posted: 10 May 2008 10:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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Nhoj Morley - 10 May 2008 11:56 AM

Gosh, Dave. You’ve invented benignhilism.

B4 U R B8-ified U F 2 B B9.

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Posted: 10 May 2008 01:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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Salt Creek - 10 May 2008 02:54 PM

B4 U R B8-ified U F 2 B B9.

I’m down widat!

[quote author=“homunculus”]
Guiding or perhaps forcing threads of myth through the all but microscopic needle-eyes of cogent 21st-century world views can amount to anything from somewhat fun to life consuming. ... How is philosophy useful today, and was it ever “good” for anything? To be considered philosophy rather than something contained within fields of cognitive or social science is in itself, to me at least, by default a threading of the needle as per my above strained and contrived metaphor.

A philomiphic metaphor, one might opine. The fabric of our collective mindworlds is now quite finely woven, as nanotech reaches the parts previous worldviews failed to reach. Philomiphics is the love of miph, and miph, as I explained in passing in my 1996 attempt at a Hollywood-bankable novel, is the combined firepower of mathematics, informatics and physics, and thus the thread that weaves the world we inhabit (in spirit, as opposed to in the flesh, which as the salty dog keeps reminding us, is destined to go the way of all turds, down the tubes and so on).

If you would indulge me in a little epiphany here, the modern miph outdoes all previous mythologies so comprehensively that we can talk of a phase transition in life on Earth, from a terrestrial exosphere dominated by mammals with big brains to a network of miphic agents (you don’t have to be a professional magus of miph, or even a metamagus like Zaross, to be an agent in the network of miph) that dream together of planetary transformation. We are digging www-dreams for victory (victory, namely, over the last avatars of the top-predator mammals paradigm that was redacted in the goofic myth) and will shine in glory as pioneers of the gaianized Lifeball that our successors will create from rockball 3 in system Sol.

[quote author=“Salt Creek”]
You can abandon all pretense of meaning anywhere in the universe, even in that character, there, that keeps eisegetically farting at us ... So, let’s assume you have abandoned the meaning. Even the meaning of “meaning”. Now notice: Your heart continues to beat, you breathe in and out, you get hungry and eat, and so on. ... Do you think this philosophy bullshit is anything but whining?

No, you can’t (abandon blah), because the sheer act of reading the salty detritus presupposes meaning sufficient for understanding. Meaning is a fact that we can explain in the miph, and along the way we find that purpose and other mythic legacies become transsubstantiated as part of the deal. Pay your dues to the demigods of miph and get all this too, for free. This has to be a bargain worth signing into. All you lose is the threadbare nihilism celebrated in the Nietzschean Götterdämmerung, one would hope with due finality. (For those lacking my familiarity with that twilight, I speak of 1945, when the defenders of the greatest nihilism the world has ever known went down in the flames of an ash-heap called Berlin.)

Philosophy at its best is more than whining. Some dung beetles who relish the title of philosopher may emit strains reminiscent of whining, but this assertion needs a more rigorous demonstration than would be appropriate in this forum. Philosophy at its best is cheer-leading for the miphic epiphany. All the best philosophers had a background in the miphic arts, and they simply elaborated some of the consequences of their miphic strength to spin our their philosophies. Take it or leave it, but with patience you can use the latest nanotech fabric to filter some gold from the dross.
   
[quote author=“homunculus”]
I don’t care on any great emotional level about the destiny of humanity. I’ll be long gone well before the matter has been settled with finality.

Ah, here we go again. Who am I? Or rather, who are you, the “I” of your cerebral vortex? I is a many-splendored thing, and layered like a hierarchy of Buddhas. The more basic levels of I are the vanishing forms that encourage salty banalities of stunning inconsequence, but the higher levels, where traditional words like “spirit” begin to seem applicable, deserve the highest respect. My inference from the manifest glory of this I-erarchy is that we better not diss the goofic chameleon who has just popped up (to me, in my panpsychic revelations) as the autophenomenology of genocentricity (to marry the genial brainchildren of Dan Dennett and Dick Dawkins, those two horsemen of the atheocalypse).
   
[quote author=“Salt Creek”]
Andy’s Gesthemanic-depressive gibberish has nothing to recommend it over the work of much plainer apologists like Alister McGrath.

Error—McGrath is a Christian apologist. I am no apologist for the Adonis-like Jew who got himself crucified and inspired a loathsome toady called Saul to proselytize for his mystified vision of Gene Goof. I think I understand what this Jesus dude did and tried to do, and respect the dream, if not the implementation. This does not make me a sheep in the Christian flock. As for the manic depression, yes, I sense a tendency to bipolarity in my hins and yons, and no doubt a sprinkling of lithium salts on the breakfast cereal would damp me down a notch or two, but who would benefit? Not me, anyway.
   
[quote author=“Bruce Burleson”]
The very fact that you had some urge to mitigate H’s perceived suffering indicates that the imago dei is still hanging on to life even in the darkness of your soul, clutching to some dried-up tendril of your black heart.

In my reading of this urge to mitigate suffering, it reflects a sensitivity to the call of the genes. We are not islands in our fleshbags (where in each of us almost a petamolecule of DNA carries those shards of the goofic splendor to nurse us through our days) and we respond to each other. Who, on seeing his brother ailing, would walk on the other side? Even the Nazis helped a fallen comrade, and their nihilism puts the salty exemplar to shame. The darkest souls are just before dawn. Let the sun shine! Dig for victory, und gib Nazis keine Chance.
   
[quote author=“Salt Creek”]
But even if I admit to embracing suffering, like some Buddhist monk, that’s still too much emotional commitment, isn’t it? I like to watch, and I will do so until my eyes close for the last time. What you are reading are my observations.

   
Watching is vicarious doing. Those mirror neurons in the salted cortex are dancing in tune with the fun outside and perking the salty dog up enough to “like to watch”. Admitting to an addiction is the first step. Admitting that the old fleshbag has its own predilections that need to be fed and watered is also good. Go walk the dog—it does the soul good, too.
   
[quote author=“homunculus”]
In my opinion, nihilism is not simply a denial of life value, but a denial of bullshit underpinnings of values. It doesn’t deny valid emotional reaction but does indeed mock the strained and trivial attempts. That is, I don’t tend to get teary-eyed over nationalism or patriotism or any particular holiday or tradition.

Bullshit is in the eye of the beholder, if you will excuse my presenting a rather unsavory image to your mind’s eye. One might even say, let bullshit be in the eye of the beholder, or let a pancake of same be thrust into the eye of the beholder. Let bullshit be upon him! Let him stink in the effluvium of his own self-anointed bullshit! Really, if this evocation of the rectal output of bulls is the best by way of critical response to the issues of our time that a commentator can muster, then a baptismal immersion in that ordure is a worthy tribute. As for tears, let them flow. My antinihilist hero Winston S. Churchill, in perhaps his defining peroration, offered no less, along with blood and toil and sweat, as his contribution to the downfall of the saltiest dog our modern times have vomited up for our mortification and edification.
   
[quote author=“Bruce Burleson”]
BS does need to be eliminated, and if nihilism accomplishes that, it is indeed a useful tool. But if it is seen as more than a tool, and if it is taken as an accurate expression of reality, then it is depressing. That is no reason to reject it, but I do reject it because I am a believer. I interpret Jesus’ teachings as more of an attempt to reorient humankind toward its center, which is Him. If He was not the Son of God, he was the biggest narcissist who ever existed.

 
Well, the nihilists of the Third Reich certainly eliminated a rather large pile of bullshit, namely half of Europe as it then stood. As for whether the pile of glory that now stands in its place merits any comparable purgation, time will tell. I fear that the quality of the globalized culture we have excreted in recent years is poopier than one might desire, and a workover from a few million rabid Allahazis might have a purgative effect that is not entirely catastrophic and disastrous. Yet still I like playing in our poop sufficiently intensely to feel that the Allahist workover should be resisted with extreme prejudice if need be.

As for Jesus the narcissist, apart from the fact that we are misusing the N-word rather grossly here, who ever doubted the diagnosis? As I have demonstrated to my own blissful satisfaction, Jesus was about as N as they come, even more so than that fame-blessed solipsist Ludwig Wittgenstein (or indeed, to go from the philosophically relatively sublime to the definitely “gorblimey” ridiculous, the panpoopist Galen Strawson). The Adonis myth that Jesus exemplified in his own way appeared many times in history. I found a good presentation of an earlier exemplification in Jewish history in the tetralogic novel “Joseph and his brothers” by Thomas Mann. 
   
[quote author=“homunculus”]
From what I can gather, Bruce, nihilism involves all or at least most of the following:
rejection of the idea of deity;
rejection of morality;
rejection of life meaning beyond what might be found in the immediate reality of any given context;
rejection of the notion that human life, at least in its present condition, is worth continuing.

As a trained philosopher, certified to administer philosophical correction at the least provocation, I would beg for further clarification of the terms “deity” and “morality” in this attempt at a definition, as well as an indication of how the meaning of life and worthiness for life are intended to be understood here. This is not mere wordplay. In my eisegesis, we have miphic deities that have totemic power exceeding all the tribal fetishes like Yahweh in our prehistory, and the rejection of deity here is self-defeating if it extends to the miphic overlords. Analogously for the other clauses, with the snide addendum that repudiation of worthiness for life was precisely the judgment that SS officers made on a daily basis. Shall we join them?

As you see, I have the Great Patriotic War and its fringe campaigns on the brain this sunny Saturday. Perhaps it was seeing the Russkis rolling out their heavy armor again in Red Square yesterday. Not that I sense any particular danger there, any more than when I feast my eyes each summer on the “Battle of Britain” fly-by of a Spitfire, a Hurricane and a Lancaster at some English airfield and feel a lump in the throat or a tear in the eye as I reflect on how much all those bygones still help set our moral compasses today. In such ways, we are floated out of the abyss of nihilism.

Unbelievably, all this is my idea of a Saturday nite well spent.

[ Edited: 10 May 2008 01:24 PM by AtheEisegete]
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Posted: 10 May 2008 02:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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AtheEisegete - 10 May 2008 05:09 PM

As a trained philosopher, certified to administer philosophical correction at the least provocation, I would beg for further clarification of the terms “deity” and “morality” in this attempt at a definition, as well as an indication of how the meaning of life and worthiness for life are intended to be understood here.

And no one is certified to inquire for further clarification of your acronymic salad of GOOF balls?

Sing with me, people: Do Re Mi Fa Q.

I don’t abjure “meaning”, I just think “the meaning of the universe” is a nonsensical phrase.

[ Edited: 10 May 2008 02:14 PM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 10 May 2008 09:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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AtheEisegete - 10 May 2008 05:09 PM

. . .
As a trained philosopher, certified to administer philosophical correction at the least provocation, I would beg for further clarification of the terms “deity” and “morality” in this attempt at a definition, . . .
. . .

Unbelievably, all this is my idea of a Saturday nite well spent.

Andy, I must admit that I’m not sure what exactly nihilism is or is not, which is probably obvious, and I appreciate your attention to a couple of details that I’ve no doubt scrambled a bit. Whether or not my views fall into any category of nihilism I’ll gladly leave as an open question. I have no answer to your question about deity, but if something occurs to me in the near future, I’ll post it. All I can say tonight is that, to me, deity equates to magic.

I do have a few things to say about morality, unfortunately. I’m particularly pleased about what I say in the following thread, despite the fact that a cognitive-psychologist friend—a much harder-core nihilist than I—blandly panned it as being irrelevant to the mythical subject of morality:
http://www.samharris.org/forum/viewthread/6500/


Another more recent thread I started continues my search and peculiar observations:
http://www.samharris.org/forum/viewthread/9411/

Saturdays and Sundays are my busiest days, and for me a Saturday night well spent simply amounts to recovering from chaos. That is, I need to do some rereading of the rest of your words. Thanks though.

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Posted: 11 May 2008 01:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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[quote author=“AtheEisegete”]Philosophy at its best is more than whining. Some dung beetles who relish the title of philosopher may emit strains reminiscent of whining, but this assertion needs a more rigorous demonstration than would be appropriate in this forum. Philosophy at its best is cheer-leading for the miphic epiphany. All the best philosophers had a background in the miphic arts, and they simply elaborated some of the consequences of their miphic strength to spin our their philosophies. Take it or leave it, but with patience you can use the latest nanotech fabric to filter some gold from the dross.

In the American board game “Life,” the object is to go through the usual phases of life and end up with as much play money and assets as possible - he who dies with the most toys wins. The loser goes bankrupt and “becomes a philosopher.” There is one view of philosophers that would characterize them as losers - those who can, do; those who can’t - philosophize. That they have any influence at all may stem from the fact that nobody understands what they are saying, so everyone assumes that it must be very important. They are revered because of our own lack of self-esteem.

On the other hand, since everyone who goes through college must come in contact, in one context or another, with the great philosophers of history (otherwise, we couldn’t claim to have a truly “liberal” education), philosophers do have a significant influence on thought. But if religion is going to crumble at the onslaught of science, philosophy will not be far behind. Fact will conquer meaning at every level. There will not even be any need for philosophers to create myths or miphs for us to aspire to, as everything will be made known. The “philosophy of the gaps” will disappear right along with the “god of the gaps,” as there will be no more gap to mind.

My argument is that philosophy depends, to a certain degree, on religion. If there is a God, philosophy has something to do as we grope for the meaning of meaning.  If there is no meaning, if there is only brute scientific fact, then philosophers will soon take their places in the soup lines right behind theologians and preachers. Dennett may be arguing himself right out of a tenured job.

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Posted: 11 May 2008 01:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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homunculus - 11 May 2008 01:01 AM

I must admit that I’m not sure what exactly nihilism is or is not ... I do have a few things to say about morality, unfortunately. I’m particularly pleased about what I say in the following thread ...

I took a look at your earlier words. Here are some responses.

[quote author=“homunculus”]
Morality is something that is commonly fought by certain people, though it often involves simple, everyday situations. When the answer to a situation is clear and obvious, then to do otherwise issues a private challenge to morality itself. When the answer is fuzzy, difficult or convoluted, chances are that such an answer relies on ethical consideration. Ethical consideration tends to corral attention to various or disparate circumstances attempting to align themselves into morality as it’s perceived. People generally agree on moral issues and often disagree about ethical consideration.

Let me try to rephrase this. A sense of morality is a simple inclination to do the right thing, without any further sophistication or obfuscation. Ethical systems are constructed by elaborate social mechanisms and attempt to codify a moral stance. I hope this agrees with what you had in mind.

[quote author=“homunculus”]
Nerve impulses are the basis for morals. ... When I refer to my nervous system, I’m not only referring to my brain. ... Our nerves provide us with our morals ... But we can choose to abide by them or ignore them. It’s up to each individual to decide which aspects of morality are ethically reasonable and which need to be discarded or amended.

Moral intuitions come to us via nerve impulses modulated by a rich stew of macromolecules in blood and synapses, where the whole electrochemical process is a product of evolution. Our intuitions are partly shared with other mammals (shown by recent work on monkeys that behaved better than some humans in lab tests of morals) and partly specific to our species (for example, unlike lions, we don’t normally eat our infants). Since we have personal minds and ethical systems, we tend to override our moral intuitions with intellectually nuanced judgments. This can be useful in a civilized setting where evolved traits may be counterproductive, but the whole contrived result can easily go horribly wrong.

[quote author=“homunculus”]
Here’s my hypothesis summarized:
Proper lessons having been learned + neuro-anatomical/chemical parts sufficiently in place + sufficiently supportive environment = deterministic moral agency.

In sum, if evolution did its job right, we simply trust our moral sense. But evolution is a fumbling and opportunistic bodger, not a visionary master architect, so we can’t just say something is moral because evolution gave it to us. Anyway, evolution gave us big brains, and we use our brains to set up ethical systems, but ethical systems can lead us away from any moral foundation we may have started from. Since civilization changes our environment much faster than evolution can change our visceral intuitions, we end up all at sea.

Returning to the triggering issue here, what does a nihilist rejection of morality amount to? A rejection of the whole moral side of our evolutionary heritage? A rejection of moral verdicts that are out of their depth in a modern setting? A rejection of ethical systems that fail to reflect moral truths? These are very different things.

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Posted: 11 May 2008 02:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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[quote author=“AtheEisegete”][quote author=“homunculus”]
Here’s my hypothesis summarized:
Proper lessons having been learned + neuro-anatomical/chemical parts sufficiently in place + sufficiently supportive environment = deterministic moral agency.

In sum, if evolution did its job right, we simply trust our moral sense. But evolution is a fumbling and opportunistic bodger, not a visionary master architect, so we can’t just say something is moral because evolution gave it to us. Anyway, evolution gave us big brains, and we use our brains to set up ethical systems, but ethical systems can lead us away from any moral foundation we may have started from. Since civilization changes our environment much faster than evolution can change our visceral intuitions, we end up all at sea.

Returning to the triggering issue here, what does a nihilist rejection of morality amount to? A rejection of the whole moral side of our evolutionary heritage? A rejection of moral verdicts that are out of their depth in a modern setting? A rejection of ethical systems that fail to reflect moral truths? These are very different things.

We have all changed our minds about some moral issue as adults, perhaps multiple times about the same issue. What does this indicate? We were inclined by our nature and nurture to see a particular issue in a particular way, but as we considered the matter more closely, we decided that a change was in order. We appealed to some system of belief or philosophy that we thought appropriate, and then neuro-connections began to form that made us feel good about our choice. It is possible to come to agree with moral stances that are totally against everything that you learned during the initial socialization process. This process says nothing about the validity of the moral code that we settle upon, but it does seem to indicate that we have been geared & wired to determine meaning. Even nihilism itself is a form of moral philosophy whose acceptance may have moral consequences. Even nothingness is somethingness, and has content.

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